Sea turtles along the Gujarat coast S.F. Wesley Sunderraj, Justus Joshua, Sesh Serebiah
Gujarat has the longest coastline in the country, covering more than 1600 km. However, according to earlier studies (1978-84), of four turtle species believed to occur in the state, only the Olive ridley Lepidochelys olivacea and Green turtle Chelonia mydas are reported to breed while Leatherback Dermochelys coriacea and Hawksbill Eretmochelys imbricata are seen occasionally. This study was carried out under GOI-UNDP Sea Turtle Project to assess the status of breeding population of sea turtles, to identify existing threats and suggest conservation strategies.
Field surveys were conducted day and night between August and December. Among the districts surveyed, Jamnagar and Junagadh coasts provide potential habitat for nesting compared to other coasts. No nesting of Leatherback and Hawksbill turtles were recorded during this survey. Turtle eggs are under predation by animals and humans. Animal predation (36 per cent) is more than human predation, which is higher than the estimates for Olive Ridley (20-30 per cent) in Rushikulya on the Orissa coast (Pandav et al, 1998).
Contact: Gujarat Institute of Desert Ecology, Patwadi Naka, Bhuj, Kutchh - 371 001, Gujarat.